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Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner

Michelle Radcliff
Cleaning a Hardwood Floor

Wood floors can make home interiors more beautiful, but it can take a lot of work to clean and maintain them. Many homeowners opt for homemade cleaning solutions for various reasons including cost and a preference to control what ingredients are used.

How to Make Your Own Wood Floor Cleaner

The following recipes are relatively easy to make and don't take a lot of time.

Basic Cleaning Solution

For a basic cleaning solution, gather the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 gallon warm water
  • Lemon or orange essential oil (optional)

Combine the vinegar and water in a small bucket. Add a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil to the solution if you want a scented cleaner. To clean your wood floors, simply dip a sponge mop in the solution and squeeze it dry. Wipe it across your floors while rinsing the mop out frequently. Take a clean and dry cloth to wipe out any damp areas on the floor.

Black Tea Solution

Black tea will clean and polish wood floors. Gather these ingredients:

  • 3 bags of black tea
  • 4 cups of water

Pour the water into a pot. Bring the water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add the tea bags and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and submerge a soft cotton cloth or hardwood floor mop cleaning pad into the solution. Attach the cloth or pad to the mop and wipe the floor down. The tannic acid in black tea removes dirt and leaves a beautiful shine on wood floors.

Spot Remover

Gather these two ingredients for a simple spot remover:

  • Linseed oil
  • White vinegar

Combine equal parts of vinegar and linseed oil. Wipe the floor using the mixture and buff the floor using a rag.

Greasy Floor Cleaner

Gather these ingredients for greasy or sticky wood floors:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water

Fill a spray bottle with warm water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap and a cap full of white vinegar. Mist the areas that need cleaning then quickly mop or wipe the floor with a soft cloth. Make sure all moisture has been wiped away.

Homemade Floor Polish

Gather the following ingredients for floor polish:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil

Combine vinegar and oil in a plastic bowl or container. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and wipe over floor. Buff off with a dry cloth.

Making Cleaner vs. Buying Cleaner

If you're on the fence about whether to buy hardwood floor cleaner or make your own, weigh the pros and cons of each kind.

Homemade Cleaner


  • Natural ingredients are more environmentally friendly.
  • You probably have the ingredients in your kitchen.
  • You can save money even if you have to buy the ingredients, which can also be used for other household projects as well as the cleaner itself.


  • You assume all the risk when using a homemade cleaner.
  • The cleaner you make may not be as effective as a professional product.
  • Ingredients that include water could possibly warp the wood.

Buying Cleaner


  • Cleaners specifically designed for cleaning hardwood floors may work better than homemade cleaners.
  • The manufacturer of the product may have to assume some or all liability if the product damages the floor when used as directed.
  • The cleaner could also be non-toxic or eco-friendly.


  • The chemicals in the cleaner may be toxic to the environment.
  • The cost could be significantly higher than a homemade remedy.
  • The product might only be suitable for cleaning hardwood floors and nothing else.

Choosing a Cleaner

Choosing the best cleaner depends on your floors and on the type of mess you are cleaning. Experiment on small sections of the floor until you find the one that makes your floors look their best.

Homemade Wood Floor Cleaner